Travelling with three girls definitely has its perks. Hitching a lift on a speedboat full of wakeboarding dudes is one of those perks.

We arrived in Lake Taupo last night fairly late, but not too late to catch a pretty damn fine sunset over the lake with a nice cold beer. The campsite we stayed in however, left a bit to be desired. We opted for a free campsite we found on Wikicamps, but it was not the most pleasant experience. The campsite itself was huge, and resembled festival camping more than a campsite, with lots of tents packed in very tightly. The toilets ere in pretty bad shape, and it was fairly noisy. If you’re staying in Taupo, I’d advise against the big free camp – it’s worth paying the $6/10 for a local DOC camp.

Today more than made up for the campsites shortfalls. There is a famous Maori rock carving right on lake Taupo, that according to the Information site can only be accessed by tour boat. Thinking that maybe the Maori rock carvers didn’t have access to the tour boats, we wondered if maybe there was another way to see the carving, and after a bit of research discovered that you can actually swim to it. It was a long swim, and if you’re at all unsure of your swimming abilities I’d strongly advise against it, but if you’re a strong and confident swimmer it’s definitely do-able. The other option if you’re not such a strong swimmer is to take a boogie board or another flotation device with you.

The rock carving itself is impressive, coming in at over ten metres high, and only accessible form the water. The main carving is surrounded by several other carvings, of animals or other objects, each of which has its own meaning. Although the carvings look like some ancient artefact straight out of Indiana jones, they were in fact created in the 1970’s by Maori master carvers Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Jonathon Randell as a gift to the township of Taupo.

Lake Taupo Rock Carvings

The carvings were a highlight of our visit to Taupo, and if you’re looking for interesting, cheap and fun things to do around the lake, then the carvings should not be missed.